ישראל נאמן | Lectures, Articles, Tours: Israel | Mideast onTarget | Elliot Chodoff & Yisrael Ne'eman | Going Easy on Terror 2.3.05

Going Easy on Terror

2 March 2005

By Yisrael Ne'eman

With representatives from 23 nations and 6 international bodies attending, yesterday's London Conference was intended to boost the standing of Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in the world arena, giving him the aura of a president. By the time the gathering was adjourned, Abbas received pledges of $1.2 billion for Palestinian development and demands that Israel live up to its end of the "Roadmap" set out by President Bush and adopted by the Quartet. Israel was not at the conference, as it dealt with Palestinian issues and Jerusalem felt no need to be involved. Furthermore, Israel would only serve as a lightning rod for condemnations, not what British PM Tony Blair was hoping to gain from such a forum.

Everyone was in agreement that the Palestinians needed territorial "contiguity" and national "viability". Blair made it clear that "viability" also meant state institutions for proper governance, economic development and security. Palestinian democracy in the form of an elected legislature is the next step.

Despite coming away big winners the Palestinians were quite "upset" over the condemnation of Friday night's terror attack in Tel Aviv which left 5 Israelis dead. They certainly did not want to be reminded of their security responsibilities. Both US Sec. of State Rice and Abbas himself called the perpetrators "extremist elements" meaning such acts were perpetrated and supported by those on the periphery of Palestinian society.

Israel makes it perfectly clear that it has no intention of tolerating terrorism. For terrorism to succeed it needs support from the society where it emanates and not just marginal elements. Apparently the attack was planned by the Islamic Jihad in Damascus but that does not absolve the Palestinian Authority from taking action.

At the beginning of the week a truck laden with half a ton of explosives was captured in the Jenin area. The discovery of bomb factories, weapons and ammunition and the arrests of terrorists are daily occurrences. The Israeli presence and continuing military operations are putting a halt to the continuing Palestinian terror attempts. Suffering from "sins of omission" Dr. Rice has publicly accepted the Palestinian excuse for not halting terrorism. She, like everyone else is condemning terrorism in general and Syrian complicity in this specific attack.

In Israel the PM's office offered platitudes concerning the Conference. Vice-Premier Ehud Olmert however, was in particular critical of the British for offering open-ended support to the Palestinians without the condition that terrorism end. When Olmert speaks, he does so for PM Sharon.

According to the Israeli daily, Haaretz, the terror attack was carried out by the Islamic Jihad's Shi'ite faction, to differentiate from the Sunnis or anyone else. The Shi'ites take orders directly from Iran, which makes the attackers less than marginal. The Hizbollah-Tehran connection will undermine Palestinian democracy before it gets off the ground, unless those in Ramallah will destroy the terror cells.

The Iranian terror threat is a potent as ever. Damascus may be the front man, but the mullahs in Tehran are calling the shots. Going easy on Palestinian terrorism of whatever sort is not the answer. For his own good and everyone else's it must be made clear to Abbas that he is responsible for destroying Palestinian terrorism and no excuses will be tolerated.